2012. Oil on decoupage with studded faux-leather on found plaster sculpture.
It has been an incredibly long time since I’ve updated Art/Life. But I think the long interval makes this post fitting. About three weeks ago now, I gave notice to my employers that I had plans to leave the company in May. I felt like work was getting in the way of Work. By the grace of God, they were overwhelmingly understanding and supportive. I have no, repeat NO, definite plans for income. I committed to paint, volunteer, and trust that God will provide. AND HE HAS. Exactly a week after that initial step of faith, He dropped a large commission and an important contact in my lap!
This is all a little terrifying, but I love it. It is so much better to have no idea what you are doing, but to know it is the right thing to do, than knowing what you are doing, but not being sure you should be doing it. I need to go work on a piece for a fundraiser now. Can’t wait to post more.
This project is the evolution of an idea I had back in November. I was trying to come up with ideas for smaller pieces that I could put in a $500-and-less show at work. For some reason, the idea of doing icons came to me. I knew I didn’t want to do traditional Byzantine style icons, and I knew I wanted to–in some small way–open the door of “sainthood.” In Protestant (and especially in Evangelical, it seems) circles, the title of Saint is resisted as something lofty to be bestowed in recognition of great works, an acetic life, and martyrdom. Sainthood has, in fact, been made into an elite status in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions. In reaction, “Saint” is rarely used to describe one redeemed and recreated by Christ’s work.
The icons I wanted to create initially would be connecting characters–both good and bad–in the Old Testament with characters in the New Testament. I wanted to do icons of those characters that are under the radar, like Samson or Saul. The deadline for that show passed, however, and so the idea had more time to grow. Through reading and discussion, I really got a sense of all Christians being Saints. Through the Cross, our identity of “Sinner” is destroyed, and we are recreated as “Saint.” “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” This revelation of something I had learned but not known challenged everything I felt about the title “Saint.”
Prior to this, the word had negative, elitist associations. I felt that to call someone a Saint somehow put them above the common believer. Which isn’t really such a bad thing: “consider others better than yourself.” The word also seemed to have implications of an extraordinarily pious life. These notions I had of those venerated as Saints contrasted sharply with people I know who are Saints. Former alcoholics, homosexuals, addicts, criminals–those the least likely to be venerated, yet in God’s eyes, some of the most useful. So that’s what this series is about: Unlikely Saints. If the truth were known about us, we’d all be included.
A few weeks ago, my boss asked if I’d paint on a set of tables from our store to donate for the local Doula Foundation‘s art auction. In typical artist fashion, I waited until the last week to work on them. After a couple all-nighters, they were delivered with still-sticky polyurethane, but they got done. And they didn’t look terrible–which is good.
I wanted to show how the Doula Foundation helps provide a good childhood to kids by supporting their parents, who are often low income. To represent childhood, Becca and I ran to the thrift store to buy a bunch of children’s books for the decoupage on the tables. Because doulas use their hands so much in their work, I thought it would be appropriate imagery to paint over the decoupage.
The auction was fun, and this little project got me motivated to keep working on stuff for my show. Plus, I now have photographic proof that I’ve been working.
(Photos (and some decoupage and polyurethane) courtesy Becca)